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J U N E 2 0 1 7



Acts of “love” rise over those

mired in hate

Dr Omar Khorshid

Continued from page 2

No apologies, I'm a dedicated doctor



wo events this month have shown the best and

the worst of human nature.

The first was a cowardly attack on a medical

professional in Melbourne a few weeks ago.

Heart specialist Dr Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann, at the

time of publication of


, was fighting for his life

at Melbourne’s The Alfred Hospital after allegedly being

punched while standing inside the entrance of Box Hill


Dr Pritzwald-Stegmann was working at Box Hill Hospital

when he was allegedly hit from behind by a man he had

told to stop smoking in a non-smoking area in the hospital.

This reprehensible attack on a doctor who was taking

steps to protect the health of people attending a hospital,

is unfortunately indicative of not just the threat of violence

that sometimes exists around smoking but the way in which

some people react when asked to consider the health of


Every doctor in Perth, in fact every hospital visitor, has

stories to tell about the individuals who light up around

hospitals, more often than not while standing in front of

NO SMOKING signs. The fact is that some people are so

arrogant that they not only deliberately flout laws banning

smoking from around hospitals but actually stand in front of

NO SMOKING signs to practise their filthy habit.

Irrespective of how addicted or dependent patients are on

nicotine, they should adhere to the rules that exist around

and within places of health, such as hospitals.

Perhaps we should stop shaking our heads in frustration.

Maybe we should cease being so tolerant and make such

offences a serious crime. Perhaps we consider declining

such people healthcare and consider an immediate

detention of some sort.

How we enforce the NO SMOKING rule around health

campuses is a debate for another time. All I know is we can’t

keep ignoring it.

Balanced with this deplorable act of violence, however, was

an act of devotion, or as the Prime Minister said, “love… and


The donation of $400 million by Fortescue Metals Group

founder Andrew Forrest made a few weeks ago was one of

the largest charitable donations made by a living Australian.

Mr Forrest has shown the way forward for many wealthy

Australians. As he said at the public announcement of his

donation: it is much better to provide a “hand up rather than

a hand out.”

Interestingly, the AMA (WA) was ahead of the curve on this

and had already thanked Mr Forrest for his contribution to

the health and wellbeing of West Australians.

At the 2012 AMA (WA) Gala Dinner, Mr Forrest was

presented the prestigious President’s Award for his work

through Indigenous employment service Generation One.

As I wrote then: “Through his personal funding, drive and

advocacy, Mr Forrest has ensured that many thousands

of Indigenous Australians have not just found meaningful

employment or improved their education, but have been

encouraged to take up healthy lifestyles for themselves and

their families.”

So in the space of two weeks we have seen the best and

the worst of humanity. A one punch attack is horrendous

and cowardly. The attacker will be dealt with by the legal

system as appropriate. In due course – likely to be months

– the attacker will be forgotten, dismissed by history as a

fading stain.

Mr Forrest’s contribution, on the other hand, will be

remembered for as long as we exist as a society and its

impact will live on in a thousand, if not a million different

ways. As it should.

government but also holding them

to account whilst at all times acting

and speaking professionally and with


The reality is that there are tough

economic times ahead and it is our

job to protect and advocate for our

patients. We should demand to be

treated with respect, and ensure that

we treat ourselves, our colleagues and

our patients in the same way.

I don’t apologise for my dedication to

my profession and for me it’s certainly

not ‘ just a job’.